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 The meaning of Malama Pono
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Larry
Aloha

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  05:38:11 AM  Show Profile
When my ex wife, who lives in Hawaii, writes letters to me she sometimes uses the phrase "malama pono" in the salutation. I thought it just meant "regards" or "take care" but when I did a search on the net I came up with all kinds of meanings. I am wondering which meaning is the one used most in Hawaii. I wonder which meaning my ex uses when she writes me. One source said that 'malama' means to treasure and 'pono' means property. It went on to say that the words together mean to hold on a person, preserve them in your heart, and treasure them. I still love my ex wife with all my heart and I guess I want to believe she feels about me in the more intimate definition of the phrase "malama pono".

What is the strongest phrase to describe a deep love for another person in the Hawaiian language? I have read where "Aloha nui loa" means 'much love' or 'fond regards' but is there anything in the Hawaiian language that can express a love so profound there are almost no words to describe it? I have such a love for my ex wife. I love her with every cell in my being, and my heart will always be longing and aching for her. I would like to write her back using very special Hawaiian words of love.

All of your comments will be greatly appreciated.

Mahalo nui loa ...

Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  08:09:07 AM  Show Profile
I'll bet Sarah has some suggestions on the linguistic issues (if she notices this and has the time), but I'll just make a comment from a kind of anthropological viewpoint.

The notion of romantic love varies vastly between societies, and many are quite unlike the modern Western view. I think it might be difficult to come up with a Hawaiian version of what you describe. For instance, Kaliko Beamer Trapp (who is quite an authority, if you don't know who he is) once told us that the word "aloha" in Hawaiian was closer in sense to the English/American word "admiration" than it was to "love". So, cross cultural meanings can be quite dicey.

As for "E malama pono", I have never heard it, seen it or used it in any other sense than "take care of yourself". Which does not mean anything other than FWIW and YMMV.

...Reid
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Auntie Maria
Ha`aha`a

USA
1904 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  08:59:44 AM  Show Profile
Hawaiian words...Hawaiian language...such mysteries!

As for "malamapono" as a salutation -- here in the islands it's used as "take care", often as "malamapono a hui hou"..."take care, until we meet again".

Auntie Maria
===================
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Auntie Maria
Ha`aha`a

USA
1904 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  09:01:51 AM  Show Profile
This site has more salutations, with translations:
http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/6794/o-closings.html

Auntie Maria
===================
Please tune in to my "Aloha Kaua`i" radio show
Thu & Fri 7-9am (HST)
www.kkcr.org - Kaua`i Community Radio
"Like" Aloha Kauai on Facebook, for playlists and news/info about island music and musicians!

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Sarah
`Olu`olu

USA
571 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  11:11:35 AM  Show Profile
Larry,

I hope this is some kokua for you...

In the thread http://www.taropatch.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4328, Mika ele has provided us with quite a list of loving phrases that you could peruse. If a straighforward "Aloha no au ia 'oe" (I do love you) doesn't seem to convey it, perhaps a closing such as "me ke aloha pau 'ole" (with undying love, or love forever) or "me ke aloha palena 'ole" (with boundless love) might work?

Or to paraphrase your own words, "'Eha ku'u pu'uwai i ke aloha pau 'ole nau, 'a'ole lawa ka 'olelo" -- "my heart aches with an endless love for you, words are insufficient"...

You can also use a series of epithets, as in: "E ku'u aloha, ku'u lei, ku'u 'i'ini, nau ko'u aloha pau 'ole" -- "my love, my lei, my desire, for you is my unending love."

There are also many Hawaiian songs that find ways to elaborate poetically on expressing a deep love, such as you perhaps wish to, using the word "aloha" or more metaphorical imagery. One of my favorites is in the song "Maika'i Ka Makani o Kohala": "Ko aloha, ko aloha ka'u mea nui, He makana, he makana na ka pu'uwai" expressing "Your love, your love is the most important thing to me, A gift, a gift from the heart."

So as you can imagine, there are many ways to express, and different shades of emphasis.

Regarding "malama pono" (more than you wanted to know):

"Malama pono" is short for "e malama pono," and expresses "take good care," with "of yourself" understood.
In this instance, "e" is the hortative particle, signifying an imperative.
"Malama" (with a kahako over the first a) = vt. care for, tend, protect
"Pono" = vs. completely, properly, carefully

I have not observed that it has any particularly different meaning than we in English might mean (as Reid and Auntie Maria indicate in their posts) -- but even in English, it can depend on the context and the relationship, and the health or predicament, of the people involved. Therefore, it appears it could range from the polite to the personal, depending.

I have also seen "take good care of your health" -- "malama pono i kou ola kino."

You will find that in Hawaiian, most words have more than one meaning, and that makes them quite context-dependent. In Hawaiian, descriptives (the equivalent of adjectives and adverbs) usually follow the verb or noun. Pono, as you see it in "malama pono," is thus in the position of an adverb, modifying just how you perform your malama: "well, properly, with integrity," that sort of idea. In contrast, using pono before the verb signfies almost the opposite meaning -- slipshod, any-old-whichway (see definition 6. in the Pukui/Elbert dictionary).

In general when you look up a word in the dictionary, notice the part of speech that is associated with a given meaning. That will help you steer away from things like trying to fit pono=property, as a noun, in the position of an adjective, and so on.

Hope this helps...

Aloha,
Sarah
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Pua Kai
Ha`aha`a

USA
1004 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  11:55:23 AM  Show Profile
Hi Reid,
What do FWIW and YMMW mean?
mahalo,
n
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 09/26/2006 :  12:17:18 PM  Show Profile
For What It's Worth and Your Mileage May Vary. Netspeak for my not knowing anything absolutely.

...Reid
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